She Shoulda Said No

2283. SHE SHOULD A SAID ‘NO’ (1949-USA). With ALAN BAXTER, LYLE TALBOT, LILA LEE, MICHAEL WHELAN, JACK ELAM. Most 1930s and 40s exploitation films exposing the evils of marijuana are cornball camp classics. This one is something else altogether. The point is pounded in that taking one puff of one joint is the equivalent of “an invitation to your own murder.” However, the film also works exceedingly well as a tense and entertaining film noir thriller. The setting is the back alleys of Los Angeles. It is a city of sinners, with the spotlight on the “haIf-world of dark shadows some of them dwell in.” The heroine is Anne Lester, a straight-arrow showgirl working to support herself and put her kid brother through college. She falls in with Markey, a sleazy drug pusher who is not beneath doping up innocent high school kids who summarily go on a deadly joyride. “Here, try one of mine,” he tells Anne when she wishes to smoke a cigarette. ‘Well, maybe one puff won’t hurt me,” she innocently responds. Little does she realize that this indiscretion will lead her on a path to destruction and horrible personal loss. Character actor Alan Baxter was expert at playing sinister heavies, and he is at his best here. It also is fun seeing distinctive movie villain Jack Elarn in one of his earliest roles, playing a cool-as-a-cucumber killer, finally, starlet Lila Lee (cast as Anne) filmed this just after completing a six-month jail term on the celebrated marijuana bust that also ensnared a rising young movie star named Robert Mitchum! 70 minutes. Exploitation Drama